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Computer News and Rumors

August 1-7 2002

About News and Rumors. InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors is a daily column. It features news coverage of new PC and Mac computer hardware and software, Internet news, and other technical news items.
Every Sunday, News and Rumors features "Sunday Shopping Watch", which is a comparison and analysis of Sunday computer store advertisements.
The Computer News and Rumors is an archived column, so feel free to review previous week's or month's computer news by clicking here. Previous computer news articles can also be searched, by using our site search feature found in the top and bottom menu bar.

InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors Article Index
Date
(Click on story to read, use your Browser's back button to return to the Index.)
Aug 07 Linuxworld Exhibitors Rev Their Engines In Anticipation Of Meeting
Aug 07 MINOLTA-QMS Sets New Price-Performance For Laser Printer
Aug 07 Outlook for Alternatives to Windows Operating System Growing
Aug 07 VTech Delivers the World's First 5.8 GHz Cordless Phone
Aug 07 tDevice Ships Q-Pad for Palm m500 Series Handhelds
Aug 06 Toshiba Satellite 1405-S171 Offers Top Performance at Affordable Price
Aug 06 Infineon Announces Volume Production of 256Mbit Mobile-RAM
Aug 06 Computer FireWire Burning Slower
Aug 06 Use of Competitive Local Phone Providers On The Rise
Aug 06 Dell Servers Power World's Largest Search Engine
Aug 05 NEC Brings First Ecological Desktop to U.S. Market
Aug 05 Hewlett-Packard Surpasses Palm in Worldwide PDA Revenue
Aug 05 Demand for ebooks Heats Up
Aug 05 Free eBook Locator Launches For Consumers
Aug 04 Sunday Shopping Watch
Aug 02 Sharp Introduces Its Largest LCD Desktop Monitor
Aug 02 Fujifilm Announces Digital Cameras with xD-Picture Card Storage
Aug 02 PC Market Consumes 30% More GPUs than CPUs
Aug 02 CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 11 Ships
Aug 02 DealTime User Base Surges 44 Percent
Aug 01 PriceGrabber Lets Individuals Sell Products
Aug 01 New PayPal Wizard for Microsoft FrontPage
Aug 01 iDEFENSE Pinpoints Top Wireless Vulnerabilities
Aug 01 SimpleTech Announces Bonzai Flash USB Mini-Drive
Aug 01 New Study Says Poor Web Site Performance Can Cost Millions

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Aug 07 - Linuxworld Exhibitors Rev Their Engines In Anticipation Of Meeting. IDG World Expo, the leading producer of world-class tradeshows, conferences and events for IT markets, announced today that
a number of prominent Linux and Open Source companies will launch new technologies at LinuxWorld Conference & Expo. Attendees will be able to investigate and review a bevy of solutions and evaluate their ability to solve real business issues.

LinuxWorld Conference & Expo, the premier event exclusively focused on Linux and Open Source solutions, will take place August 12-15, 2002 at San Francisco's Moscone Center. Keynote speakers include Scott McNealy, chairman and CEO, Sun Microsystems; Larry Ellison, chairman and CEO, Oracle Corporation; Sergey Brin, co-founder and president, technology, Google, Inc.; and Douglas T. Elix, senior vice president and group executive, IBM Global Services.

LinuxWorld will also feature a larger-than-ever Rookery, the event's headquarters for new, up-and-coming companies. This year's Rookery, which will feature 28 exhibitors from 12 different countries, is four times larger than last year.

The excitement is building among LinuxWorld exhibitors ready to take the wraps off of their latest solutions.

LinuxWorld exhibitors presenting new products include:

Borland (booth 455) will showcase Borland Kylix 3, the #1 Linux development IDE*, delivering the first C++ and Borland Delphi integrated rapid application development (RAD) solution for creating database, GUI, Web, and Web Services applications for Linux (*Source: Evans Data Corporation 2001)

Cylant (booth R4) will introduce CylantSecure 2.0, which applies a preventatative, behavioral approach to security, utilizing kernel monitoring to detect attacks without the need for continual signature or rule-set updates

ETRI (booth 540) will showcase its Linux-based Home Server platform which provides entertainment, various home networking and control & multimedia services, as well as its embedded Linux development solutions including IDE and target builder.

LTrix Engineering (booth R11) will offer product demonstrations of lice, a Linux kernel mode debugger for x86 that loads as a module and provides remote (TCP/RS-232) source level kernel and module debugging without patching the kernel source

Sangoma Technologies (booth 1491) will launch its S518 WANPIPE™ ADSL card, an internal Broadband ADSL modem designed specifically for all versions of Linux and FreeBSD, which enables Open Source server manufacturers to provide integrated Broadband ADSL support

ShaoLin Microsystems (booth R2) will introduce CogoFS, a Linux-based stackable compression file system with ShaoLin's Kypectec compression engine that works in the kernel space, which delivers high performance, easy migration and reliability, saving server disk space and speeding network traffic by storing files in compressed form at the server

Sharp (booth 683) will demonstrate the Zaurus SL-5500, its Linux / Java PDA which will be sold on the show floor at a special discounted developer price, and will also host various fun developer contests during the show

X.org (booth .org 23) will demonstrate its Media Application Server (MAS), which will bring a new standard, complete and fully-integrated sound and multimedia capability to X and to the X Window System

In addition to these and other new products showcased on the show floor, LinuxWorld Conference & Expo attendees can also check out the substantial content that has made LinuxWorld one of the world's premier IT events. Show highlights will include:

"Linux: The Foundation for the Enterprise": Red Hat CTO Michael Tiemann and Amazon.com Director of Systems Engineering Jacob Levanon will share details on Amazon.com's migration to Linux in this special feature presentation.

Golden Penguin Bowl: The infamous geek trivia game that tests the wits of some of today's most distinguished Linux personalities will be hosted by Chris DiBona of the Open Source Development Network (OSDN).

"Linux Around the World" Series: These show floor presentations, developed in conjunction with Linux International, will describe a variety of special projects that use Linux and Open Source to bring computers and technology to developing and rural areas around the world.

"Taste of Linux" Series: Attendees will learn about reasons for converting to Linux, how their ROI will benefit, and the answer to "what's this Linux thing all about anyway?" in these show floor presentations.

Open Source Product Excellence Awards: UniForum and IDG World Expo will present these awards to exhibitors showcasing the event's most innovative products and services on the show floor.

"We're expecting great things to come out of next week's LinuxWorld Conference & Expo," said Rob Scheschareg, vice president of sales, marketing and product development, IDG World Expo. "From high-profile speakers like Scott McNealy and Larry Ellison to the presence of innovative new exhibitors like Freshwater Software and LTrix Engineering, this event will mark an exciting time for the Linux movement."

For registration information or to exhibit at LinuxWorld, visit www.linuxworldexpo.com.

Aug 07 - MINOLTA-QMS Sets New Price-Performance For Laser Printer. MINOLTA-QMS, Inc. today introduced the PagePro(TM) 1250W, a 17 ppm laser printer designed for Microsoft(R) Windows(R) users who need fast printing, have a tight budget and can't afford to give up too much space.
The printer has an estimated street price of $199 making it the lowest-priced 17 ppm monochrome laser printer available on the market today. Designed specifically for the Windows operating system, the PagePro 1250W features 1200 x 1200 dpi resolution and a 150-sheet multipurpose paper input tray.

"The cost of high-speed, high-quality laser printing for the small, home office has been too high for too long," said Steve Fletcher, president and COO of MINOLTA-QMS, Inc. "Ink jet printers are slow and most laser printers are big and expensive. Our new PagePro 1250W solves this dilemma. Now, our customers can have a laser printer that really delivers more performance per square inch of desktop than any other printer they can buy."

Best Print Speed for the Money - and for Its Size

The $199 PagePro 1250W prints up to 17 letter-size pages per minute. No other laser printer at that price comes close to matching the performance of the PagePro 1250W. Printers with the PagePro 1250W's speed can take up a desktop to themselves. The revolutionary design of the PagePro 1250W now results in a very small footprint, just 248 square inches, about the size of most desktop business ink jet printers. The PagePro 1250W is up to 70% faster than current desktop laser printers of a similar size.

The PagePro 1250W is available immediately through MINOLTA-QMS' worldwide network of authorized distributors, resellers, and e-commerce partners. To locate the reseller nearest you, visit the MINOLTA-QMS Web site at www.minolta-qms.com.

Aug 07 - Outlook for Alternatives to Windows Operating System Growing. Microsoft Corp.'s Windows desktop operating systems are and will remain the dominant client desktop standard for the foreseeable future, but don't count Linux and Apple's Mac OS/X out. That is the conclusion of a newly released Yankee Group Report, "The Desktop OS: Are There Real Alternatives to Microsoft?," which finds that interest in alternatives to Microsoft's client operating system is at the highest level in over a decade.

Apple's Macintosh has found a comfortable and committed niche among enterprise customers with sophisticated graphics and production departments. Linux, meanwhile, has gained a groundswell of support in the last three to four years due to its appeal as the "un-Windows" solution, according to Yankee Group senior analyst and Report author Laura DiDio.

"Corporate user resentment and dissatisfaction with Microsoft and some of its practices are at an all-time high," DiDio said. A myriad of issues ranging from Microsoft's perceived monopolistic practices, hyperbolic marketing, ongoing security woes, and habitually slipping ship dates of major new product releases as well as confusion surrounding the overall .NET strategy have undermined corporate customer confidence. A recent joint survey of 1,500 corporations by Sunbelt Software, Inc. and the Yankee Group found that nearly 40% of the respondents were so outraged by Microsoft's new licensing scheme that they are actively seeking alternative products.

"This cumulative dissatisfaction will not necessarily translate into corporate defections to rival operating systems. But it does open the door a crack and raises the possibility that Linux and Macintosh OS X can gain new footholds in an overwhelmingly Windows world," DiDio said.

The Yankee Group can be found online at www.yankeegroup.com.

Aug 07 - VTech Delivers the World's First 5.8 GHz Cordless Phone. VTech Communications, Inc. (a subsidiary of VTech Holdings Ltd., SEHK: 303; London SE: VTH; ADR: VTKHY), a demonstrated pioneer in cordless telephony since its introduction of the world's first fully digital 900 MHz cordless telephone, announced today the immediate availability of its revolutionary new VTech 5831 5.8 GHz cordless telephone.

Sure to be a hit with technology lovers, the VTech 5831 is the only cordless telephone to operate in the newly available 5.8 GHz frequency band. Until recently, this frequency had been reserved for commercial broadband wireless applications because of its ability to carry data transmissions at high speeds. Adding this powerful technology to the proven Digital Spread Spectrum (DSS) technology in VTech's latest phone design, accounts for the 5831 model's superior audio quality and performance.

The performance story behind this impressive new cordless telephone doesn't end with 5.8 GHz and DSS. The VTech 5831 has an amazing number of useful and user-friendly features. At the top of this list is a built-in speakerphone on both the handset and the base unit. The speakerphone turns the base unit into a fully functional stand-alone telephone with its own keypad and LCD screen that displays Caller ID and Call Waiting. Essentially, that means the VTech 5831 cordless telephone is two-phones-in-one.

If two phones aren't enough, the VTech 5831 system easily accommodates up to six handsets - each communicating with the same base unit. The magic of this system is that only the base unit needs to be plugged into a phone jack. Beyond that, additional handsets only require a power outlet and may be placed anywhere else in the house. That means extra handsets can be easily placed in the den, in the attic, or even in the garage (assuming the garage isn't in the next county!).

The VTech 5831 5.8 GHz cordless telephone is available now and carries a suggested retail price of $199 for the starter package that includes one base unit and handset. Additional handsets can be obtained for a suggested retail price of $99 each.

For further information or to purchase a VTech 5831 cordless phone, visit www.vtechphones.com.

Aug 07 - tDevice Ships Q-Pad for Palm m500 Series Handhelds. tDevice (thinkDevice Company, www.tdevice.com) today announced the first shipment of Q-Pad(TM) for Palm(TM) m500 series, a PDA accessory which combines the function of a protective leather case, an integrated keyboard and a viewing stand for ultimate productivity and portability in a single, easy-to-use package.

Approximately 3 x 5 inches in size and less than one inch thick when coupled with a PDA, the new Q-Pad for Palm m500 Series is the smallest, thinnest PDA accessory of its kind, and comes in an industrial strength yet stylish armored leather case. The Q-Pad for m500 Series is fully compatible with applications supporting Palm 500/505/515 and Palm OS for PC or Mac. Its dedicated numeric keypad and 60-key QWERTY keypad, including programmable hot keys and special function keys, provide any Road Warrior with the powerful productivity environment of true PDA mobility.

"Q-Pad is a must-have accessory for any mobile professional," said Robert Hahn, Marketing Director at thinkDevice Company. "While snap-on thumb boards of all kind are flooding the market, Q-Pad is the only one that is both compact and functional. Since it doubles as a PDA case, you don't have to remember to bring it along with you and it doesn't get in the way when you don't need it. This is true Take Anywhere, Type Anytime technology!"

The price of the Q-Pad is $69.99 and includes the Q-Pad, driver software, a user's manual and a one-year warranty. The Q-Pad is available for purchase at participating retail outlets nationwide, or it can be purchased online at www.tdevice.com.

Aug 06 - Toshiba Satellite 1405-S171 Offers Top Performance at Affordable Price.Toshiba CSG today announced the new Satellite 1405-S171. Providing a hassle-free optional upgrade to wireless connectivity and priced at $1,499, the Satellite 1405-S171 is ideal for students, budget-conscious consumers and small- to medium-sized business owners looking for a powerful, feature-rich notebook.

Equipped with a 15-inch diagonal TFT display and 16MB of dedicated graphics memory, the Satellite 1405-S171 provides a high-quality multimedia experience without breaking a budget.

The Satellite 1405-S171 also includes a built-in DVD-ROM/CD-RW multi-function drive, a powerful new Intel(R) Celeron(R) 1.50GHz processor and an array of multimedia features making it the perfect choice for computer users searching for top performance and functionality at an affordable price.

For additional information about Toshiba's Satellite 1405-S171, visit www.shoptoshiba.com.

Aug 06 - Infineon Announces Volume Production of 256Mbit Mobile-RAM. Infineon Technologies (FSE/NYSE:IFX) today announced it has broadened its portfolio of Low-Power DRAMs and is now in volume production of 256Mbit Mobile-RAM memory chips, which are available in chip-size Fine-pitch Ball Grid Array (FBGA) and Thin Small Outline packages (TSOP).

Due to its 50 percent smaller footprint and reduced power consumption compared to both standard SDRAM and simpler, reduced voltage low-power DRAM, Infineon's Mobile-RAM is ideally suited for applications in handheld electronics. Power consumption of Mobile-RAM in stand-by mode is less than half of a conventional DRAM. Now available in both 128Mbit and 256Mbit density, Mobile-RAM is designed to serve as main memory in systems such as PDAs, Smart-Phones, Web-Pads and Digital-Cameras.

Mobile-RAM operates at 2.5V core voltage and 1.8V (or 2.5V) for the I/O in contrast to conventional 3.3V SDRAM. Additional power management features like Temperature Compensated Self Refresh (TCSR) and Partial Array Self Refresh (PASR) further reduce power consumption significantly. Partial Array Self Refresh limits the self-refresh operation only to parts of the memory that contain data. Temperature Compensated Self-Refresh adjusts the refresh rate to the temperature of the device, the lower the temperature the lower the refresh rate, and thus additional power savings.

Compared to DRAMs mounted in the standard TSOP package, the footprint of the Mobile-RAM is reduced by more than half when using the 8mm x 12mm Chip-Scale-Package (CSP). The Fine-pitch Ball Grid Array used for the Mobile-RAM is based on Infineon's proprietary wire-bonding Board-on-Chip technology (BOC) which combines the rigidity of the inexpensive lead-frame bonding techniques with the space-saving features of CSP.

"This new 256Mbit device is the second product on our Mobile-RAM roadmap which will soon be extended to the 512Mbit generation," said Dr. Ernst Strasser, Director of Marketing for Graphics and Specialty DRAM at Infineon. "The Mobile-RAM is one more example of Infineon's strategy to offer products that meet growing demand for specialty DRAM in the information and communication market segment."

Additional information about Infineon's Mobile-RAM can be found at www.infineon.com/mobile-ram.

Aug 06 - Computer FireWire Burning Slower. As predicted, the IEEE 1394 high-speed digital interface is continuing to make gains in consumer electronics markets, according to In-Stat/MDR (www.instat.com).

The high-tech market research firm reports that, although PC-based products with 1394 have historically comprised the majority of shipments, in 2001 consumer products overtook PC-based products.

Solid growth will continue, with total 1394 devices growing by 21% in 2002, as the interface penetrates more models in the retail PC, digital camcorder, and other consumer electronics markets, and emerges into new applications such as automotive.

However, while the breadth of applications for 1394 ultimately points to a huge opportunity, it also results in significant industry conflicts, punctuated by legislative and regulatory involvement. The realization of this potential market will be incremental, as both business models and technologies develop over the next 3-5 years.

The major market inhibitors are interface alternatives, including USB 2.0, a lack of current applications beyond digital video editing, and the current tech slump. The consumer electronics (CE) market faces the most significant market barriers, the primary of which is copy protection of copyrighted video. As 1394 will ultimately carry digital video, content protection is a critical issue.

Finally, as peer-to-peer is a major advantage of 1394, interoperability remains a significant challenge in the CE market.

In-Stat/MDR also found that:

-- The total market for devices with 1394 grew by 33% to over 46
million units in 2001.

-- USB 2.0 is beginning to make headway in the PC market,
impacting 1394 demand to some degree in the long term. It will
continue to develop as the chief high-speed PC peripheral
interface alternative to 1394.

-- In 2001, notebook PC OEMs continued to include 1394 at a
significant pace. This uptake rate is expected to continue to
increase over the next several years.

Aug 06 - Use of Competitive Local Phone Providers On The Rise. Competitive local phone providers (CLECs) continue to increase their penetration in both the consumer and business telecom markets, despite widely reported financial woes in the telecommunications industry, according to telecom market information gathered by Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS) Telecoms.

Consumer research from TNS Telecom's Bill Harvesting(R) shows that during the 12 months ending March 31, 2002, CLEC penetration of U.S. households grew from 7.8 percent in the first quarter of 2001 to 10.3 percent in the first quarter of 2002 - an increase of almost 32 percent. At the same time TNS Telecom's BusinessWave(R) research shows a rise of 22 percent in CLEC penetration in the business telecom market - from 23 percent in the first quarter of 2001 to 28 percent at the close of the first quarter of 2002.

During the 12-month period, households and firms using CLECs for their local telephone service spent more per month for telecommunications services than households using an incumbent provider (ILEC) such as the former Regional Bell Operating Companies. On average, a residential household using a CLEC spent $142.69 per month on all telecommunications services (local, regional toll, calling card, long distance, wireless, cable/satellite TV and Internet access), while households using an ILEC spent only $136.40 per month, almost a 5 percent difference.

Even more notably, businesses using CLECs spent 110 percent more, on average, than businesses using ILECs, spending an average of $870.48 monthly, while ILEC customers spent an average of $414.02.

"As the number of CLEC customers grows, we are beginning to get a complete picture of the differences between CLEC and ILEC customers," said Charles White, Vice President at TNS Telecoms. "In general, consumers using a competitive local provider are younger, have larger families and spend more on telecom services when compared to customers using an ILEC. This information will be helpful in exploring the future of a more competitive telecom marketplace and its customers."

TNS Telecoms can be found online at www.tnstelecoms.com.

Aug 06 - Dell Servers Power World's Largest Search Engine. Fast Search & Transfer(TM) (FAST), a leading developer of search and real-time alert technologies, has used Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) servers and storage systems to attain the title of the world's largest search engine.

FAST recently announced that AlltheWeb.com(TM), the company's search technology showcase, delivers search results from a catalog of more than 2.1 billion Web pages, making it the world's most comprehensive search resource.

"We are constantly expanding our services to keep up with the ongoing growth of the Web and to deliver some of the most advanced search solutions available today," said Dr. John M. Lervik, chief executive officer of FAST. "Using Dell systems exclusively in our data center helps FAST provide our customers an extremely reliable service, and supports our business objective of delivering a high quality search experience on the Web."

From AlltheWeb.com's formal launch in 1999, Dell systems have powered this next-generation search engine from FAST. Since then, FAST has escalated AlltheWeb.com's search capability from 80 million Web pages in 1999 to more than 2.1 billion today. The company has built a data center using more than 1,000 Dell PowerEdge servers and Dell PowerVault storage systems providing nearly 200 terabytes of storage.

Visit www.fastsearch.com for more information or see FAST in action at www.alltheweb.com. Information on Dell and its products can be obtained at www.dell.com.

Aug 05 -NEC Brings First Ecological Desktop to U.S. Market. Today, NEC Solutions (America), Inc., a leading provider of business solutions and services for the high-end commercial and professional markets in North America, introduced the PowerMate eco, the first all-in-one, fanless ecological PC.

NEC addresses such problems as lead content, fan noise, heat generation, footprint size, recyclable and material composition usually found in traditional desktop PCs. The PowerMate eco is also designed with laptop components to keep the overall footprint small and power requirements down, while delivering high functionality required in a variety of work environments. The announcement marks the first time a major computer manufacturer has created a PC specifically to address the growing environmental and workplace problems associated with traditional desktop PCs.

The PowerMate eco includes a 15" TFT LCD flat panel screen that does not contain the boron commonly found in traditional CRT monitors. The unit also contains a motherboard made with lead-free solder, which protects both the individuals involved in reclamation, and the ground water in case of disposal.
In addition, the PowerMate eco is also made of NuCycleTM plastic - an NEC patented plastic that is 100% recyclable. NuCycle is made of polycarbonate resin mixed with a special, flame-retardant silicone compound. Other computer plastics have flame retardant brominated coatings applied, which do retard flames, but produce harmful gases in the process. NuCycle's flame retardant is non-toxic and built-in, requiring no toxic coating.

The PowerMate eco incorporates a 900MHz TransmetaTM CrusoeTM processor equipped with a 20GB1 hard drive and a 15-inch TFT LCD flat panel display into a footprint 11.5"(w) x 8.9"(d) weighing in at 16.5 pounds (without AC adapter, keyboard or mouse).
With fanless design combined with a Fluid Dynamic Bearing (FDB) motor in the hard drive, the FDB quiets the drive and results in a noise level about the same as a whisper (approximately 20db). Additional features include 256MB (640MB Max) of memory to enhance overall system performance and functionality, as well as a built-in RJ-44 LAN jack for quick network and Internet connections.

A standard configuration of the PowerMate eco includes a 900MHz Transmeta Crusoe Processor, a 15.0" XGA TFT LCD flat panel display, 256MB memory, 20GB hard drive, Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional and Windows® 2000 Professional, starting at $1,599.
For more information, go to www.necsolutions-am.com/mobilesolutions.

Aug 05 - Hewlett-Packard Surpasses Palm in Worldwide PDA Revenue. The worldwide PDA market experienced a slight increase in revenue, as PDA shipments experienced a single-digit decline in the second quarter of 2002, according to preliminary results from Dataquest Inc., a unit of Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT and ITB).
Worldwide PDA end-user revenue in the second quarter of 2002 totaled $902 million, a 1.5 percent increase from the second quarter of 2001 when end-user revenue totaled $889 million (see Table 1). PDA shipments reached 2.7 million units, a 3.5 percent decline from the second quarter of last year when shipments reached 2.8 million units.

The combination of Hewlett-Packard and Compaq was barely enough to surpass Palm for the No. 1 position in PDA market revenue in the second quarter of 2002.
"Palm and HP did not ship in volume any new models during the quarter. The decline in Jornada and iPAQ shipments from a year ago is largely a result of economic conditions, relatively high prices and lack of diversity across their product line. Customer anticipation of new Pocket PC models based on Intel's XScale microarchitecture also delayed some sales," said Todd Kort, principal analyst for Gartner Dataquest. "Likewise, the release of Palm's OS 5 in early June is putting a damper on sales in this category until new PDAs using this software and new ARM-based processors are ready in a few months."

Palm continued to lead the industry in terms of unit shipments, as it shipped nearly double the volume of HP in the second quarter of 2002. Palm accounted for 30.3 percent of all units shipped, while HP had 16.0 percent of worldwide shipments in the quarter. Both vendors shipped substantially fewer units compared to the same quarter a year ago.

In the U.S. market, Palm captured more than 40 percent market share, with Sony, HP and Handspring close together but well behind Palm (see Table 3). Sony introduced six new models so far this year and as of late July it has all the major price points covered.

"Sony made a big splash with the Clie NR70V, which integrates a tiny digital camera," Kort said. "Toshiba is benefiting from the excellent price/performance and slim form factor of its e310, and the new e740 is also off to a strong start. Toshiba made significant progress by greatly expanding its reseller base. Handspring continues its gradual withdrawal from the PDA market, focusing instead on smartphones, but it leveraged the small Treo form factor with the new Treo 90."

PDA OS shares were largely unchanged from a year ago. Palm OS PDAs captured 50 percent of the worldwide PDA market in the second quarter of 2002, with approximately 1.35 million units shipped. Vendors of Microsoft Windows CE PDAs held nearly 28 percent of the worldwide market, up 2.6 share points from a year ago. Proprietary OS devices, especially popular in Asian markets, were steady at about 20 percent of the worldwide PDA industry.
Geographically, the U.S. market accounted for 48 percent of worldwide PDA shipments in the second quarter of 2002. The Asia/Pacific region was second with approximately 20 percent of the market, followed by Western Europe, which had 18 percent of PDA shipments in the quarter.
For more information, visit www.gartner.com.

Aug 05 - Demand for ebooks Heats Up. In response to increased consumer demand, leading online retailers, eBooks.com and Fictionwise.com have expanded their inventory to include hundreds of titles in the popular Microsoft Reader(TM) format.

Mobile users can browse and purchase best-selling titles from leading publishers such as McGraw-Hill, Random House, Harper Collins and many others. After purchasing, customers can download and read their eBooks on desktop PCs, laptops and Pocket PC 2002 devices with Microsoft Reader 2.0 installed. Both companies are part of OverDrive Content Reserve -- a worldwide marketplace of eBook retailers who can choose from thousands of premium eBook titles for secure online distribution through their stores.

Clifford Guren, Group Product Manager, eReading, Microsoft said, "We're delighted that two pioneers of eBook retailing are now selling Microsoft Reader titles, enabling their customers to experience the ease and clarity of reading eBooks with ClearType. Their support adds significantly to the growing momentum of the eBooks industry."

eBooks.com has been selling electronic books exclusively in Adobe Acrobat PDF format for over two years. "We decided to add Microsoft Reader titles to our inventory because it is the format of choice for our mobile and connected customers," said Suzanne Cole, Manager, Acquisitions & Publisher Relations at eBooks.com. "The small file sizes are perfect for fast downloading onto a Pocket PC. We are delighted with the enthusiastic reception for our current inventory of Microsoft Reader titles that we've received from our customers," she added.

"Fictionwise is excited to be working with OverDrive. By participating in Content Reserve, we can offer and deliver thousands of quality titles in Microsoft Reader format through our eBookstore," said Scott Pendergrast, co-owner of Fictionwise.com. "We have over 50,000 members growing at a rate of 2,000 to 3,000 per month. As a result we're seeing steady double digit growth in sales and OverDrive is helping Fictionwise keep up with demand," he said.
The companies can be found online at www.eBooks.com and www.Fictionwise.com.

Aug 05 - Free eBook Locator Launches For Consumers. OverDrive, Inc. today launched eBook Locator(TM) (www.ebooklocator.com) -- a free, Web-based search tool for locating commercially available eBook titles in leading digital formats.
As the most authoritative resource for consumers and eBook buying communities, eBook Locator offers up-to-the-minute information on tens of thousands of eBooks from over 400 publishers worldwide. The service powered is by OverDrive, Inc., whose renowned Content Reserve(R) Digital Content Marketplace is the leading clearinghouse of digital inventory in the world.
eBook Locator provides a wealth of real-time data about eBooks in the most popular formats for PCs and PDAs including Microsoft Reader, Adobe Acrobat eBook Reader (PDF) and Palm Reader. Each eBook record includes information on where to purchase the title immediately with links to a network of leading online eBooksellers including Barnes and Noble.com, WHSmith Online, eBooks.com, Fictionwise, eFollett.com and more in the US and abroad.
"OverDrive's Content Reserve is the most comprehensive source for eBook title data, including covers, jacket copy, table of contents, excerpts, and author information in the publishing industry," stated Pamela Turner, Director of Content for OverDrive. "Content Reserve also provides other pertinent data including digital rights information (DRM), license terms, file size, and which PC or PDA devices for which a title is designed.

Our inventory is growing rapidly, with more than 500 titles added to the database each week," Ms. Turner added. "eBookLocator.com is an important enhancement to our industry and illustrates how eBooks are continuing to grow in adoption and acceptance," said Nicholas Bogaty, Executive Director of the Open eBook Forum, an industry trade and standards body serving the publishing, book, and technology communities. "By providing current bibliographic data 24/7, consumers, librarians and researchers can get the information they need quickly and easily. It's a tool that everyone who reads and buys eBooks will come to rely on," he added.

Aug 04 - Sunday Shopping Watch.

Best Sunday Deals - Almost all desktops and notebooks were good buys in the categories we follow. (See our Best Sunday Ad Deals Table below for specific system prices.)

Weekly Comparison. Computer system prices went down a little this week, but not much lower than there usual average price.

Notebooks - The HP Athlon 1400+ with DVD/CD-RD drive at $1099 is a better buy than a low priced Duron or Celeron notebook.
Desktops - No low price Celerons were advertised this week, the Compaq 1.4 GHz complete system was advertised by Circuit City for $749 with DVD/RW combo drive.
Prices remained about average for Pentium 4 and AMD Athlon XP desktops.

This Sunday's Special Discounts and Financing. In addition to sales on specific items, the following store-wide sales are advertised this week. (Note that these ads are for the Dayton, Ohio area. Prices or offerings may be different where you live.)

BestBuy is offering 6 months of free MSN with any computer purchase.
Additionally, they are giving $100 mail-in rebates on all desktop packages, $150 mail-in rebates on all notebooks, and a $100 gift card with any Pentium 4 or Athlon XP desktop package. They are also offering 12 months of no interest financing on all computers $599 and up.
Circuit City is giving away 12 months of free CompuServe on any in-store computer purchase. In addition they are offering 12 months no interest financing on all desktop packages and notebooks.
Office Depot has 6 month no interest, no payment financing for purchases over $298.
CompUSA is offering 3 months of free AOL with laptop/desktop purchase. They are also advertising no payment/no interest financing for 6 months on any HP product purchase over $248.
Staples has no store-wide computer promotions this week. Individual items may be on sale.
Compare to Online Prices - Compare the Sunday ad prices to those being offered at DealTime, it searches over 160 online computer stores.

Shopping Alert on Lower Priced Desktops. Many lower priced Celeron/Duron desktops made by almost all computer manufacturers should be carefully investigated before purchase.
Most of these low priced desktops have no AGP video expansion slot, no onboard dedicated video RAM, no CD-RW drive, and very few empty PCI expansion slots. These computers will be very difficult to upgrade, and they have poorer performance than other desktops that do not have integrated audio and video chips on the motherboard.
Often by spending $200-$400 more for a Pentium 4 or Athlon XP based system, you can get twice the performance, more features, and you will have an upgradeable computer that will serve you well for another 3 years.
If you choose the $700 Celeron/Duron system to save a few bucks, keep in mind that in a year or two you will probably want to replace it.

Note on the "Loaded Celeron" Intel Celerons at speeds of 1.7 GHz or faster are potentially upgradeable to Pentium 4 processors. Slower Celerons are not socket compatible with the Pentium 4.
These faster Celeron systems are more like a low end Pentium 4 system as they often include: 400 MHz bus speed, DDR RAM, CD-RW or DVD drives, and flat screen monitors.

About Windows XP. It has been a little over 9 months since Windows XP began to be bundled with new computers. Windows XP became available for separate purchase on October 25, 2001. For more information on Windows XP see our Windows XP Upgrade Guide.

Internet Rebates. Most stores are no longer advertising 3 year Internet rebates. Check with your local store before you buy. Please see our article, What You Need to Know About Internet Rebates and Free PCs, for an in-depth discussion of Internet Rebates.

Definitions. A complete desktop system/package/complete package is defined as a computer with monitor and printer or scanner.
A build-to-order system is customized at the retailer and then ordered from a computer manufacturer. In addition to the computer's stated price, you still pay sales tax and shipping charges (if you order direct from the vendor without going through the chain store, you may not have to pay sales tax and you could get a better warranty).

Caution about advertised prices. When reading advertisements, read the fine print of the ad to make sure you know what is being advertised and what it cost. For example, many advertisers will show a complete system with computer, monitor, and printer but advertise a price for the computer only.

* Prices discussed in this article. We report prices after rebates and discounts are subtracted.
Items highlighted in Black are good deals.
Items highlighted in Red means prices have gone up and the system is not a good buy this week.
Items in normal text means prices are about the same as the previous weeks.

Best Ad Deals this Sunday
Category
Product Description
Price* (see above)
Store
Best Celeron Deal
HP 1.4 GHz complete system w DVD/CD-RW combo drive
$749
Circuit City
Best Celeron Deal
Sony 1.7 GHz complete system w DVD/CD-RW
$949
Best Buy
Best Low-cost Pentium 4
HP 2.0 GHz complete system
$1249
Best Buy, Circuit City
Best High-end Pentium 4 System
Sony 2 GHz complete system
$1299
Best Buy, Circuit City
Best Low-cost Athlon XP System
Compaq 2000+ complete system (a very basic build-to-order system)
$842
Best Buy
Best High-end Athlon XP System
Compaq Athlon 2100+ complete system
$1399
Best Buy
Best Low-cost Notebook
HP Athlon XP 1400+ with DVD/CD-RW
$1099
Best Buy
Best High-end Notebook
Toshiba Pentium 4-M 2.0 GHz with DVD/CD-RW
$1699
Circuit City
Peripherals
Best Sunday Deal
Sony DVD-RW/CD-RW drive
$399 (after rebates)
Best Buy
Best Sunday Deal
Maxtor 60 GB, 7200 RPM hard drive
$79 (after rebates)
Best Buy

Additional Information. For additional technical information, advice on how to buy a laptop or desktop, and vendor and manufacturer links, please see our Computer Buying Advice page.

About Sunday Shopping Watch. Sunday Shopping Watch appears every Sunday (except some holidays like Easter and Christmas) in our News and Rumors column. It is a review of local (Dayton, Ohio) computer chain store advertisements. While we can not guarantee your local chain store has the same items, this article can help you make informed buying decisions.

Aug 02 - Sharp Introduces Its Largest LCD Desktop Monitor. Sharp Systems of America, a division of Sharp Electronics Corporation, has announced the newest member of its premium LCD monitor line, the LL-T2010W.

This monitor is capable of displaying a true resolution of 1.9 Megapixels (1600x1200), making it ideal for professional applications such as computer-aided design (CAD) and video editing. Joining the recently announced LL-T1820 and LL-T1520 (18-inch and 15-inch respectively), the LL-T2010W augments the Sharp line of performance-enhanced LCD monitors.

Sharp is an industry leader in LCD color imaging technology and this latest announcement adds to the diverse line of high quality, budget priced LCD displays ideal for small office, home office, government, education, creative professional, and/or corporate users.

"The LL-T2010W features a unique Sharp LCD panel technology, ASV, to provide excellent off-axis imaging with minimum chroma shift within its symmetrical viewing cone of 170 degrees," explained Herb Berkwits, director of LCD business development at Sharp Systems of America. "This technology also yields the high pixel response speed necessary to display games, video, and other dynamic media making it a perfect display for professionals operating in these markets."

The Sharp-manufactured LCD panel used in the LL-T2010W monitor features AGLR, a multi-layer surface treatment that reduces reflectance to approximately one-third that of a conventional LCD by means of optical cancellation, thus maintaining superior contrast, velvety blacks, and fully saturated colors even in brightly-lit environments. A comprehensive set of color controls, including an sRGB setting, ensures the user that the colors seen on the screen represent the original data as closely as possible. One-touch controls for synchronization and color gain produce optimized images with little fuss. A locking function for the controls prevents the settings from being misadjusted.

The LL-T2010W may be switched between two computers, and its dual inputs accommodate analog or digital (DVI) interface for maximum flexibility in configuring new and existing installations. Its integrated USB hub simplifies peripheral installation and eliminates desktop clutter. A clever "garage" in the base holds the power supply, which can be removed and used externally if the monitor is mounted on an articulated arm or on a wall mount.

The LL-T2010W is available for an estimated street price of $2,099 and is available through Sharp Systems of America's network of resellers or by going online at http://www.sharpplace.com.

Aug 02 -Fujifilm Announces Digital Cameras with xD-Picture Card Storage. Meeting the needs of today's digital photographers, Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc., unveils five Finepix digital cameras, all using the new ultra-compact, high-capacity xD-Picture Card.

The new cameras -- the user-friendly FinePix A200 and FinePix 2650, the sleek FinePix A203 and FinePix A303 and the powerful FinePix 3800 - and the new memory card will all be available at retail this September.

Going Digital for the First Time

The FinePix A200 and FinePix 2650 are perfect for the first-time digital picture-taker seeking an easy-to-use camera that has a similar look and feel to a traditional film camera with the added advantage of digital features. As 2.0 million effective pixel cameras, both allow for the development of crisp and colorful pictures up to 8 x 10 inches in size. In addition, the inclusion of a 3x optical zoom (available in the FinePix 2650 only), low power consumption through the use of two AA Alkaline batteries, movie recording and video conferencing capabilities make these cameras an excellent value at a price of $179.95 and $249.99 respectively.

User Friendly with Room to Grow

Fujifilm also introduces two additional models to its line of user-friendly A-Series digital cameras: the FinePix A203 and FinePix A303. These sleek and stylish, easy-to-use cameras are among the slimmest for entry-level digital photographers desiring to grow and advance in digital photography. Both cameras are packed with added features such as a 3x optical zoom and video conferencing capabilities. The FinePix A303 also boasts a 3.24 million effective pixel CCD for extra color and picture clarity, ultra-fast processing speed, a macro focus for shooting close up images and an added flash range. The FinePix A203 will be available at a price of $279.99 and the FinePix A303 will be available at a price of $349.99.

Shoot Like a Pro

Building on the success of the popular FinePix 2800 Zoom, Fujifilm offers advanced features and controls in addition to point-and-shoot convenience with the new FinePix 3800. At a suggested retail price of $449.99, this 3.24 million effective pixel camera offers a variety of higher-end photographic features including a manual mode with aperture control and exposure compensation, a 6x optical zoom and support for lens adaptors. This added flexibility provides the shooter a variety of picture-taking options, thus enhancing the overall digital photography experience.

PCMCIA and CompactFlash card adapters will be available, allowing use of xD-Picture Card in a variety of cameras and other devices.

More information on the xD-Picture Card can be found in our July 31st story, Fujifilm Introduces the xD-Picture Flash Memory Card.

More information on these new cameras can be found at Fujifilm USA at www.fujifilm.com.

Aug 02 - PC Market Consumes 30% More GPUs than CPUs. According to Jon Peddie Research (JPR), graphics processors out ship CPUs while prices within the PC market continue to be pressured downward.
Findings from JPR's Market Watch report indicate 30% of the computers that ship have two graphics devices for every x86-based processor. This, the report points out, has helped to keep the smaller suppliers in the market.

"The maturation of the PC industry and the saturation of the desktop market has lead to increased consolidation amongst PC graphics suppliers," confirmed Lisa Epstein, senior analyst of JPR's Market Watch report. "Today there are just eight suppliers and only two with significant market share. The rest survive on the over-buy of the industry, spot availability, aggressive pricing, and niche positioning."

On the notebook side, mobile display controllers accounted for 19% of total graphics shipments in Q1'02, up from 17% in Q4'01 and from 14% in Q1'01. Most major suppliers now participate in the mobile segment, recognizing its potential for growth. Likewise, chipsets with integrated graphics are penetrating the mobile segment as suppliers increasingly target the consumer market and strive to bring down notebook ASPs.

Jon Peddie Research estimates that 40.79 million graphics devices shipped for all segments of the personal computer industry in the first quarter of 2002. This represents a 5.2% increase from 38.78 million units shipped in Q4'01 and a 2.3% increase from 39.89 million units shipped in the same period the previous year.

Of the graphics devices shipped in Q1'02, 33.06 million or 81% were desktop controllers and 7.73 million or 19% were mobile display controllers. Eight suppliers accounted for 99% of all graphics shipments during the quarter.

Overall, the industry saw good growth in shipments for Q1'02 as compared to the declines of the prior year. The outlook for Q2'02 is mixed, however, as the industry enters a traditional seasonal slowdown, and suppliers such as AMD, Apple, Intel, HP and IBM have all issued revised guidance in the face of unexpected shortfalls going forward.

Jon Peddie Research can be found on the Web at www.jonpeddie.com.

Aug 02 - CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 11 Ships. Corel Corporation (NASDAQ:CORL) (TSX:COR) today announced that CorelDRAW(R) Graphics Suite 11 is now available on store shelves across North America.
CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 11 is a collection of professional graphics tools designed to make graphic design work more creative, enjoyable and fun. Available on both Mac(R) OS X and Windows(R) XP, customers can upgrade to version 11 of CorelDRAW Graphics Suite for US$249.

Already an industry leader in interactive tools that let you see results as you apply them, CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 11 features a wide array of new features and enhancements that are designed to increase ease of use while also deliver the power to create professional designs. Included in the suite is CorelDRAW(R) 11, Corel PHOTO-PAINT(R) 11 and Corel R.A.V.E.(TM) 2.

"I wholeheartedly suggest that every single user of CorelDRAW upgrade as soon as possible," said Foster Coburn, webmaster of unleash.com and author of six best-selling CorelDRAW books. "I've never said that with any previous release and I don't feel I'm going out on a limb here."

New Features

CorelDRAW 11 - This new version introduces a variety of tools to assist in basic drawing, including the Polyline tool, Roughen and Smudge brushes, and the 3-Point drawing tools for creating Ellipses, Rectangles and curves.

Corel PHOTO-PAINT - 11 New tools for creating Web elements and editing photos and images are introduced in this new version of the new version of the suite's bitmap editing application. Some of these new features include the new CutOut tool, Image Slicing and Rollover creation and Red-Eye Removal tool.

Corel R.A.V.E. 2 - The second version of Corel's vector animation tool focuses on lowering file size and extending functionality. New features include support for Symbols, more interactive behaviors and new Tweening capabilities.

For more information on how CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 11 will make graphic design more productive, streamlined, and enjoyable can be found at www.corel.com/graphicssuite11.

Pricing and Availability

CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 11 will be available in late July for a suggested retail price (SRP) of $529 US. Users of CorelDRAW 9 or CorelDRAW 10 Graphics Suite (Windows), CorelDRAW 8 Graphics Suite (Macintosh(R)), Corel GRAPHICS SUITE 10 for Macintosh, CorelDRAW 9 Office Edition (Windows), as well as users of Corel(R) DESIGNER(TM) 9, can purchase CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 11 at the upgrade SRP of US$249.

Aug 02 - DealTime User Base Surges 44 Percent. DealTime(R), the world's leading online shopping search engine, today announced that the number of visitors to its website has grown 44 percent since the beginning of this year, making it the third largest shopping directory and guide on the Internet according to Nielsen//NetRatings.
The top 3 list also includes Yahoo! Shopping and MSN eShop. In addition, DealTime ranks among the top five overall shopping destinations, based on Nielsen//NetRatings' custom analysis, excluding travel sites, along with Amazon, Yahoo Shopping, eBay and MSN Shopping. Separately, DealTime announced that it has reached 21 million U.S. Internet shoppers during the November 2001 to April 2002 timeframe according to Nielsen//NetRatings' custom analysis.

"The tremendous growth we've seen in traffic is due in part to our alliances with other leading portals, including AltaVista, Lycos and Excite Network. By providing shopping search functionality for these sites, more and more people are coming to know and benefit from DealTime's best-of-breed shopping search service," said Dan Ciporin, Chairman and CEO of DealTime. "The rise in our traffic shows that consumers are increasingly using shopping search to choose the products they want and select the merchant that best fills their needs. We're also helping merchants boost their profits by connecting them with millions of shoppers who have done their research and are ready to make a purchase."

According to Nielsen//NetRatings, DealTime's U.S. traffic grew from 4,979,937 unique visitors in January 2002 to 7,156,099 in June 2002, a 44 percent increase. "During the first half of this year, DealTime has managed to grow faster than other eCommerce leaders, positioning them well for the upcoming holiday shopping season," said Lisa Strand, director and chief ecommerce analyst, NetRatings.

(Editorial Comment: DealTime drives our price comparison shopping engine on InfoHQ.com, you can find our compare prices links in the top and bottom menu bars.)

Aug 01 - PriceGrabber Lets Individuals Sell Products. PriceGrabber, the Web's most innovative shopping site, today introduced PriceGrabber Storefronts, a new service that allows sellers of any size to list products for sale on PriceGrabber.com.
Product offerings from individuals, small businesses and entrepreneurs issued through PriceGrabber Storefronts will be available to the active audience of shoppers PriceGrabber attracts daily. Backed by Storefronts Transaction Protection Policy, buyers and sellers can safely conduct business in this new online marketplace.

According to Jupiter Research, the global leader in Internet and new technology analysis and measurement, an estimated $11 billion worth of goods will be sold by consumers to consumers over the Internet this year and is expected to grow to $17 billion by 2006. PriceGrabber is the first online shopping guide to tap into this growing group of people by allowing individuals, in addition to established merchants, access to the lucrative audience of shoppers drawn to the popular site. On average, PriceGrabber refers sales of $18 million of computer hardware each day, 100 notebook computers each hour and 6 digital cameras each minute to online sellers.

A straightforward process guides sellers in listing new, refurbished or used products as available for sale. The seller clicks on the red "Sell Yours Here!" button featured on every product page in PriceGrabber's directory of over 1.5 million items across eight product categories.
After submitting a description, setting a price and selecting shipping and payment options, the PriceGrabber Storefronts listing will be available for all PriceGrabber visitors to reviews and purchase. Buyers may then click through PriceGrabber to purchase the item directly from the Storefronts seller. As part of the item description and condition page, buyers may also submit questions about the product that the seller answers online; the resulting dialog will remain on the page as reference for future buyers.

In an effort to safeguard PriceGrabber Storefronts buyers and sellers, PriceGrabber has implemented a fraud protection policy backed by Lloyd's London to shield both sides of the transaction. Upon completion of a transaction, the site offers additional safety measures by implementing a feedback system where parties may post comments about the buyer or seller for future PriceGrabber visitors to read. Costs for using PriceGrabber are attractive as well. PriceGrabber charges no listing fees and collects $0.99 plus 7.5% of the item price only after the product is sold. PriceGrabber assesses buyers no fees for purchasing from a Storefronts seller.

"Bringing active buyers and sellers together in a new forum is the next natural step in meeting the needs of our customer base," said Kamran Pourzanjani, president of PriceGrabber. "Based on the interest we have from people and small businesses wishing to become PriceGrabber merchants, we foresee many individuals and entrepreneurships using this sales channel to maximize their profits."

The company can be found online at www.pricegrabber.com.

Aug 01 - New PayPal Wizard for Microsoft FrontPage. PayPal, Inc. (Nasdaq:PYPL), a leading Internet payment service, today announced integration of its popular e-commerce payment solution with the Microsoft FrontPage 2002 website creation and management tool, enabling simple credit card processing and subscription billing services for FrontPage web developers.

"Millions of people use PayPal to accept credit cards and sell their products and services online. Now anyone with an email address can open an online business quickly and easily using FrontPage and PayPal," said Dave McClure, director of the PayPal Developer Network (PDN). "In just six months, more than 50,000 developers have joined PDN and are now building PayPal-compatible solutions for their online businesses and customers."

"The 1-2-3 PayPal Purchase Button Wizard for Microsoft FrontPage is a great way to get started selling products and services on the Internet," said Giovanni Mezgec, FrontPage lead product manager, Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT). "PayPal has made it extremely easy for FrontPage users to build inexpensive e-commerce solutions and add credit card processing to their websites."

The wizard enables FrontPage users to make their websites e-commerce-ready in just three quick steps: (1) specify an email address to receive payments, (2) use the wizard to create a PayPal payment button for the product or service for sale, and (3) publish the new website using FrontPage. In addition to one-click purchasing and a built-in shopping cart, the wizard also provides functionality for collecting donations, subscriptions and recurring billing.

The "1-2-3 PayPal Purchase Button Wizard for Microsoft FrontPage" is a free FrontPage add-in wizard developed by Auction Messenger, a leading developer of Windows-based utilities for managing eBay(TM) auctions. The wizard is now available for download from the PayPal Developer Network site (www.paypal.com/pdn) and from the Microsoft FrontPage Add-in Center (http://www.microsoft.com/frontpage/downloads/addin/).

Aug 01 - iDEFENSE Pinpoints Top Wireless Vulnerabilities. iDEFENSE, the security intelligence provider, today released its first wireless 'insecurity' report, detailing the top threats facing users of wireless networks and simple, but effective ways, to better protect them - immediately.

Know the Risks and Plan Carefully

-- Wireless networks carry unique risks that must be assessed and
mitigated before they are added to the infrastructure.

-- Don't rely solely on the standard Wired Equivalent Privacy
(WEP) encryption; it's a reasonable first step, but not
private enough, because it wasn't designed to be a security
solution.

-- Segregate wireless networks. Traffic should not be allowed to
pass openly between wireless and wired local area networks.
Internal firewalls should separate the networks and require
strong authentication before traffic is permitted to pass
between them.

-- Be careful where you place wireless access points. Avoid
transmitting the signal to public places, like parking lots or
adjacent buildings from access points on outside walls.

Use the Tools at Hand to Protect The Rest of Your Network

-- Upgrade software and firmware when vendors release the latest
countermeasures.

-- Change the manufacturers' default settings, including IP
addresses, network names and passwords; information about
these settings is widely distributed online and in vendor
documentation. Hackers can use them to access and reconfigure
the network.

-- Avoid descriptive names for access points and networks such as
company name, address, etc. These types of labels give hackers
clues for tracking down the source of the signal.

-- Require that users know the service set ID for your network,
in order to join it. Don't rely on 'beacon packets,' which
broadcast locations and can be used by hackers to identify
wireless networks and determine the level of encryption.

-- Rotate encryption keys. It takes time to crack these and
revolving the keys reduces hackers' window of opportunity.

-- Hard code the MAC addresses for network cards permitted to
join the network to prevent unauthorized access to the
network.

"With wireless networks proliferating at an increasing pace, security measures will eventually catch up with demand," said Kelly. "Today, though, the best offense is a zoned defense."

For more information visit the iDEFENSE Web site at www.iDEFENSE.com.

Aug 01 - SimpleTech Announces Bonzai Flash USB Mini-Drive. SimpleTech, Inc. (Nasdaq:STEC), a leading manufacturer of flash-based data storage and custom and standard memory solutions, today announced the launch of the Bonzai USB Mini-Drive, the smallest portable, removable flash storage solution currently available for downloading, storing and transferring data between digital devices. Measuring just 2.5-inches x 1.3-inches x 0.25-inches (LWD), Bonzai offers storage capacity of 90 floppy disks in a sleek form factor that can be conveniently carried in your pocket, purse or briefcase.

Bonzai plugs directly into a PC or Macintosh USB 1.1 port -- the standard connection found on desktop and laptop computers since 2000 -- for safe, fast file transfer at 1.5MB/sec., or the flash card can be inserted into a PDA, smart phone, MP3 player, digital still or video camera, or any other device that uses an SD or MMC card. Bonzai's direct transfer capability eliminates the need for external cables, cords or cradles, as well as the security risks and slow download times frequently encountered with e-mail or other Internet protocols.

Compatible with Windows 98SE/2000/MC/XP and MacOS 8.6+ operating systems, Bonzai can store Word(TM) documents, PowerPoint(TM) presentations, spreadsheets, digital photo and music files, and streaming audio and video clips, providing a complete drive environment that does not require batteries, external power or additional cables or adapters.

Bonzai is available in capacities of 64MB to 512MB. Manufacturer's suggested retail prices are $79.95 for 64MB and $119.95 for 128MB. For additional product information, visit www.simpletech.com/bonzai.

Aug 01 - New Study Says Poor Web Site Performance Can Cost Millions. Poor web site performance can cost companies millions annually in wasted marketing money, according to a study conducted by Red Gate Software, a supplier of testing software for web applications.

Red Gate used its ANTS (Advanced .NET Testing System) software to simulate the experience of 500 visitors to popular corporate, travel, shopping and search engine sites. ANTS uses patented "frustration coefficient" and "abandonment prediction" measurements that reflect ongoing research documenting people's emotional response to web site delays.

The frustration coefficient is ranked 0 to 100, with 100 being the highest level of frustration; the abandonment index is a prediction of the percentage of people who will leave the site in frustration.

Turning Away Customers at the Web Door

"The business impact of poor web application performance goes straight to a company's bottom line," says Simon Galbraith, Red Gate's director of marketing and sales. "If your web site has an abandonment prediction of 25 percent, it means you are likely to be turning away 25 percent of your potential web customers - it's that simple."

Galbraith uses AT&T as an example. AT&T spent an estimated $447 million in the first half of last year according to figures in AdAge.com from research firm CMR. These ads generate web site traffic. Yet, Red Gate's research predicts that 33 percent of those visiting AT&T's site will abandon it because of poor performance. The frustration coefficient is 41 as a result of long download times for accessing web pages. Galbraith says that a frustration coefficient under 5 is very good, but anything over 20 can have a negative business impact.

In comparison to AT&T, the study indicates that people are unlikely to abandon Microsoft's site, even though it has a fairly high frustration coefficient of 28. Two sites can have identical frustration coefficients, but dramatically different abandonment predictions. That's because sites that occasionally inflict extremely long wait times are abandoned more frequently than those that are fairly slow all the time.

In Microsoft's case, an abandonment prediction of 0 means more bang for the buck: For advertising that drives potential customers to the web site, Red Gate predicts that AT&T achieved about the same impact as Microsoft, while spending an estimated 50 percent more.

The Frustration of Booking Travel

More than 80,000 people in the United States do searches for flight information each day. Companies such as Orbitz, Hotwire, American Airlines and Delta Airlines are spending as much as 60 cents a person on search engine advertising to lure visitors to their flight booking sites. Factoring in other advertising that drives traffic to their sites, these and other travel companies could be spending as much as $1 for each visitor. Yet, these sites have relatively high frustration coefficients, ranging from 25 (Orbitz) to 33 (Expedia). One quarter of visitors to Orbitz and Expedia are predicted to abandon the sites.

Shop `Til You Drop - Literally

Just about everybody who shops online has a story of frustration and abandonment. But, none are likely to equal those of visitors to ShopperUK.com, a web site that sells large appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines. According to Red Gate's measure, everyone who uses the site is frustrated by the way it operates, and half of all visitors are predicted to abandon it.

No Abandonment at These Portals

Search engines are guides or portals to the Internet, making them among the most frequently visited web sites. All of the search sites tested by Red Gate had abandonment prediction percentages of 0, but Yahoo had a rather high frustration level of 30. According to Red Gate, Google has earned its reputation for no-fuss searching, with a low frustration coefficient of 11. But, Google is not exclusive in its simplicity and fast response: Altavista, Lycos and LookSmart all have frustration coefficients equal to or lower than Google's.

Red Gate Software (www.red-gate.com) makes simple software that solves complex problems for developers and testers.

 

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